The Week in Reviews, Op. 234: Pekka Kuusisto; Patricia Kopatchinskaja; Angelo Xiang Yu
In an effort to promote the coverage of live violin performance, Violinist.com each week presents links to reviews of notable concerts and recitals around the world.
Pekka Kuusisto performed the Daníel Bjarnason Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic in the final concert of composer Esa-Pekka Salonen's residency.
- New York Classical Review: "The Icelandic composer’s one-movement opus opened with a bit of a parlor trick—soloist Kuusisto whistling along with his opening monologue, and the orchestra players whistling back. It then explored Bartókian nocturnal moods, dances with a touch of Latin syncopation (Bernstein again), and eventually Romantic-style virtuosity and vibrant singing lines. Kuusisto delivered it all with flair, colorfully partnered by Salonen and the orchestra."
- ConcertoNet.com: "The diminutive Bjorn-sized top-knotted black-cloaked violinist made this whole dazzling work sing, his own attitude that of an Irish step-dancer. If ya wasn’t there, I could never explain it. Let’s hope for YouTube."
- New York Times: "At the beginning of the concerto, the soloist whistles a folk-like melody; later on, the score calls for intense scraping sounds. Mr. Bjarnason delights — perhaps once too often — in creating a journey back to tuneful melody after some noisy extended-technique breakdowns. Still, Mr. Kuusisto fashioned a cheerful emotional arc from all this material. As with the rest of the night, the aim was to be to make something experimental appear natural."
Pekka Kuusisto. Photo by Kaapo Kamu.
Patricia Kopatchinskaja performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra at the Ojai Music Festival.
- Ventura County Star: "The performance itself was distinguished by fresh insight, fascinating dynamics and the violinist’s pixyish personality. The resounding finale was quickly followed by the musicians nonchalantly tossing their music stands to the ground, but as someone immediately observed, not their instruments."
Angelo Xiang Yu performed the Bruch Violin Concerto at the Sarasota Music Festival.
- The Herald-Tribune: "Yu imbued the Adagio with heart-wrenching commitment and squeezed every phrase for maximum effect. By the end of the electrifying Finale, I just sat in amazement while the crowd cheered."
Nikolaj Znaider performed the Tchaikovsky Concerto with the San Francisco Symphony.
- San Francisco Chronicle: "...he brought plenty of pizzazz to the rambunctious finale and delivered the slow movement with well-judged expressivity."
James Ehnes performed Mozart Concerto No. 5 with the Met Orchestra.
- New York Times: "The soloist, James Ehnes, showed ample technique with a full complement of cadenzas...."
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